Monday, April 29, 2013

Making Cancer Less of a Pain

When one of my dear friends, Maxine*, was diagnosed with cancer, I knew she was in for the fight of her life. What I didn’t know was how much physical pain her illness would cause her wonderful husband, Doug*. Specifically, he ended up with back pain.

This particular couple are still madly in love after more than two decades of marriage. So, you won’t be surprised to read that, of course, he’ll be right by her side, through it all.

Not long after her diagnosis, Maxine began marathon chemotherapy treatments that lasted all day, and a due to complications from her condition, the couple soon did some extended stints in the hospital together. 

All that sitting in those plastic hospital chairs really began to take a toll on Doug’s back.

One of the things I have noticed about people going through a major illness is they worry less about themselves and more about the pain their illness is causing the people they love. 

As a Restorative Exercise Specialist, I couldn’t cure Maxine’s cancer or make the pain of it any easier to endure. But, I could do something to resolve Doug’s back pain, so I did. 

As a result, Doug feels better and Maxine can focus more on getting well and less on worrying about Doug.

Want to know how I did it? Read on...

If you have met me in person, you probably know that I’m not a big fan of sitting. But, if you must sit, you can make the simple alignment adjustment below and bring your poor aching back loads of relief.

This is the same alignment cue I gave Doug and it resolved his back pain. 

The cue? Sit with a neutral pelvis.

In other words, start sitting on your “sit or sitz bones” (ischial tuberosities), instead of tucking your pelvis and sitting on your sacrum. Need a visual? 

Watch this alignment cue in action in this video by The Restorative Exercise Institute.

Still have questions? Read more about neutral pelvis from my teacher, Katy Bowman.

Still need help? Schedule an alignment session with me and I’ll help you get it right.

I hope you’ll give this cue a try and share it with any of your loved ones who may be experiencing back pain as a result of sitting at the office, sitting in the car, sitting to nurse a baby, or even sitting while holding the hand of someone they love while they fight to recover from an illness.

Go hug someone you love, today!

With Love,

P.S. Maxine and Doug are still fighting! Her treatments have been going well and I hope you will join me in wishing them many more happy years together.

*Names have been changed

Monday, December 3, 2012

Case of the Missing Arch

This week I am a guest blogger on the popular Katy Says! Read my personal story of  triumph over fallen arches here. If you have flat feet, knee pain, or struggle with balance, this post is for you!

If you benefited from this post, and are ready to schedule a personal alignment evaluation or Restorative Exercise™ session, email me directly by clicking here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holiday Travel Tips

I’m about to spend 11 hours traveling by car to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family, and thought some of you might be about to do the same. Whether you will be traveling by car, plane, or train, all that sitting takes a toll on the alignment and flow of the body. 

Here are some tips to help keep you from spending your holiday dealing with the aches and pains of travel, rather than spending time with those you love.

  1. Swallow a tablespoon of olive oil before you head out and another when you reach your destination. This is a tip I received from an ayurvedic practitioner years ago, and it really helps to keep your digestive processes flowing smoothly.
  2. Take a walk before you go. Oftentimes we have the intention of walking or exercising when we arrive, but in my experience, I am usually so fatigued from the long trip I don’t have much energy for anything but some light chitchat and stretching before heading off to bed.
  3. If you are traveling by plane, arrive early and bring a backpack instead of a rolling suitcase or duffel bag as your carry on. When I travel by plane, I make several laps around the airport terminals while waiting to board. This ensures I have lots of circulation happening throughout my body before I have to sit for the duration of my flight. Why sit while you wait for your plane to arrive when you will be sitting for hours on it?
  4. While you are in transit, change position often. If you find yourself with too little personal space to move your arms and legs about, try moving and stretching your neck, fingers, and toes. You can even stretch the muscles that control your eyes by looking as far above, below, and beside you as you can without moving your head.
  5. Stay hydrated with water. You will experience less physical and mental fatigue if you have kept the tissues of your body well hydrated on your journey.
  6. When you arrive at your destination, stretch. Below is a great stretch for the muscles of the mid back and shoulder girdle. This stretch will help reduce that look and feeling of “hunchback.”

Hold for 1 minute and repeat 2-3 times for maximum relief.

I am so very thankful to each of my readers, fans, and clients. You guys keep me inspired, learning, and growing. It is an honor to help you care for your precious body, mind and spirit. Have a fun filled and safe Holiday Season. 

If you benefited from these tips, and would like to connect with me directly about a personal alignment evaluation, email by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How active are you, really?

Or rather, how inactive are you? Let’s find out!

All scores should be in minutes and reflect your activity level on a normal day. Not a day when you were running around trying to get all your last minute holiday shopping done, or that one time you went on a day hike.

Commute time to and from work/school: _______
Commute time for kids to after school activities: _______
Sitting at work: _______
Eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks: _______
Watching TV/movies (likely 30-60 minutes per show):_______
Using the Internet or computer (not at work): _______
Other inactive time (reading, sewing, knitting, toilet time, talking on the phone, meditating etc.): _______

What do all of the above activities have in common? Sitting. 

Sitting, like smoking, shaves years off the quantity of your life while contributing little to the quality of your life.

Total minutes of physical inactivity (add all numbers above): ________

Not too bad, right?
Now add 480 minutes (8 hours) to reflect the amount of time you spend asleep in bed. Feel free to adjust this number up or down, depending on your personal sleep habits (I spend more like 9 to 9.5 hours in bed).
(Total minutes sitting) + (480 +/- any adjustments) = ________

Subtract the above number from 1440 (the total minutes per day): 
1440 – _______ = ______

This last number is the number of minutes your body is active/mobile on an average day, or said a different way, how many minutes per day that you spend NOT sitting or lying around.
I am mobile  _________ minutes on an average day.

Divide this number by 1440, and multiply by 100 and you’ll find the percentage of movement you’re getting compared to what is possible in a 24-hour period.
I am mobile ____ % of the day.

We humans need an abundance of vitamin M (Movement) to maintain the health of our body, mind, and spirit. How much vitamin M are you really getting?

Some of the evils of inactivity…

  • obesity
  • cardiovascular disease
  • back, neck, and hip pain
  • reduced circulation to the legs
  • depression
Going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week is not enough to make up for an inactive lifestyle. Don’t believe me? Check out this article in the NY Times.

If you just set people in motion they'll heal themselves. 

-Gabrielle Roth

Now, considering your above scores, is your perception of yourself as an “active” person in alignment with the reality of the percentage of time you actually spend sitting and lying around?  Can you think of some ways to add more movement to your day? How about just 3% more time spent active today?

Are you still sitting?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wild Success!

Earlier this year someone said to me, “I wish you wild success!” Wow, I thought! I love that idea! It got me thinking, what would it mean for me to be “wildly” successful? What would it look like? What would it feel like? Well, I was about to find out!

It has come to pass, that at age 33, I have had one of THE BEST and most success filled year of my life (so far)! Most days, I feel like I have succeeded on so many levels, I can scarcely believe this is my life!

This year I gained the tools to help people I care about get out of or avoid pain all together (Thank you Katy Bowman!), I have created profound changes in my own body, mind, and heart, I have learned how to listen for what people truly value in me, I have made new friends (as an adult, this had become super difficult for me!), I have embarked on new endeavors, and also given myself permission to quit working at something when I no longer felt the inspiration to do it (another toughie for this reformed “Type A”), I overcame my fear of acupuncture (Thank you Dr. Christine Maggs!), I have figured out how much of my energy I can offer to the world, and how much I need to hold back for myself so I can be at my best for the people who trust me to help them succeed in their wellness goals, I have strengthened my marriage, spent more time with family, offered kind words to strangers, and of course, made more money. I have never been more in alignment with myself, and it feels great!

This is just a small sample of what I have succeeded at this year, and I truly feel “wildly successful” already…but, you know what? I am not nearly done! There are still two months left in this year, and I’m already pondering how I am going to keep this success train barreling towards even greater success in 2013. 

I’m curious…what success have you experienced this year, dear reader? If you are not feeling successful, why not? How can I help you succeed at aligning with what matters to you?

Look for more great things coming soon! Stay in touch by signing up for my newsletter here

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Feet too Big or Shoes too Small?

Recently I had a conversation with my longtime client and friend, Amber, about feet. We have been doing Yoga together for about five years, but just started Restorative Exercise™ together in April. It went something like this…

Amber:  “Hey Danielle, can Restorative Exercise make my feet bigger?”

Me:  “Hmmm? Why do you ask?”

Amber:  “Well, I have been wearing my barefoot style open toe sandals all summer, and practicing Restorative Exercise with you since last spring…now my feet seem to be too big to fit into the shoes I was wearing last fall...and I am having the same problem with new shoes I order in my regular size. I have had to return several pairs. What is up with that?”

This conversation was very exciting for several reasons...
  • Change can happen rapidly!

  • It’s clear that the too small shoes Amber wore in the past were having a detrimental effect on the health of the tissues in her feet, and that our work together has made significant progress in restoring healthy function to those tissues (and beyond).

  • She recognizes that cramming her feet back into those old ill-fitting shoes is not going to be acceptable.  Changing our thoughts can be the most significant barrier to improving our health. Amber has already made the jump to understanding how her footwear choices impact her overall wellness.

  • As a mom, Amber has the potential to not only influence the health of her own body, but the bodies of her young children…and if he is lucky, her husband, too!

  • Amber has a firm grasp of what to look for when choosing footwear in the future, and how her choices will affect her entire body.  When she is unsure, she has me as her personal Restorative Exercise Specialist to guide her.

  • We both know she will never waste another dollar on shoes that detract from her living a long and healthy life. We both plan to be walking on our own two feet well past our 100th birthdays.

  • The more consumers demanding shoes that are less detrimental to the health of the foot (and the whole body) the more manufacturers will produce these types of shoes, giving us all a greater variety of choices.

I can't wait to see what other changes are ahead for Amber! 
If you want to learn more about me or schedule a session check out my website or email me at

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Feet I’d like to Meet

I gave a clinic earlier this month at a local Running Store. It was a lot of fun, and I offered some useful tips on how to help your feet transition to a minimalist style shoe, pain-free. It can be done!

The thing is, runners are not the only people who could benefit from making this transition. Our feet were designed to be flexible, mobile, and agile. I see people walking around with their feet in what amounts to a cast, every day. I also regularly hear about people who tried out a minimalist style shoe, such as Vibram 5 fingers, and ended up with an injury. If you had a cast on one of your body parts for years, would you expect to take it off and have that body part perform the same as it would have, had you not worn that cast? I don’t think so!

The problem, my friends, is not with the shoe! It is with the body and the mind of the person who used those feet inappropriately. If you have been wearing positive heel and athletic shoes your whole life, there is work to be done to rehabilitate the muscles in your feet...before you do something like go for a long walk, hike, or even a run in a pair of minimalist shoes.

It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it will take focus on your part. If you have had a painful experience with minimalist shoes, or want to transition, but are afraid because of the horror stories you have heard contact me. I’d love to schedule a session for you. I can teach you the skills you need to make the minimalist or barefoot transition, pain-free

The first step is simply to work up to being able to go barefoot comfortably in your house for a whole day. Can you? Will you? Let me know how you did. More tips next time!